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News from Northampton Advanced Motorists

 Test Passes
Congratulations to our members on passing their Advanced Driving Test during the past 12 months:
Clive Taylor (F1rst)  -  Diana Babb  -  Mark Martin  -  Danny Hills  -  Diane Evans  -  Issy Clarke  -  John Hales  (F1rst)  -  John Briggs  -  Alistair Ferrie  -  Sandra Rooke  -  Rajka Vukovic-Hewitt  (F1rst)  -  Chris Goddard  -  Jim Hart  -  Alan Kennedy  -  Calum Hall-German  -  Phil Bradley  (F1rst)  -  Alan Smith  -  Steve Moore  -  Dave Pearce  (F1rst)  -  Luke Horner  -  Kev Freeman  (F1rst) -  Nathanael Webb  -  Aaron Griffiths  (F1rst)  -  Ant Rawson  -  Kev Hanlon  -  Luke Feakin  -  Jack Foreman  (F1rst)  -  David Johns  -  Oliver Johnson  -  Ben Crossland  -  Clive Taylor  -  Jim Rooke  -  John Hunt  -  Barry Beal  -  Ted Patrick  (F1rst)  -  Philip Stansfield  -  Richard Ahern  -  Chris Tew  -  Sarah Stansfield

View All test passes

Brian Johnson
  tyre safety It is with real sadness that we have to annouce the death of one of our longest serving observers, Brian Johnson.

Brian passed his car test in September 1986 and became an observer soon after. He continued in this role for 26 years, helping many of our Associates successfully achieve advanced driver status.

Being a trucker by trade (he drove for Golden Wonder amongst others), Brian followed this up with his commercial test in 1988. Becoming an observer for commercial vehicles naturally followed! Over the next five years Brian helped 11 drivers pass their commercial Advanced Driving test.

Brian joined our committee in 1995 only resigning in 2013 due to ill-health. During this time he became Chief Observer, responsible for standards and training of all our observers. He also arranged many specialist events, often involving a coach or bus from the Northampton Historical Vehielce Association of which he was a member. The Group enjoyed turning up to Bletchley Park, Sulgrave Manor and the National Tramway museum in one of their beautiful vehicles.

Always generous with his time and with a heart of gold, Brian used to hold sessions with his truck so Group members could understand the view from the cab and have a go at manoeuvring.

Brian had a never ending supply of jokes and one-liners, and a beaming smile! He was also an expert crossworder, and often set the crosswords in our newsletter.

Away from the IAM, Brian was a keen scrabble player, and was a member of the Northampton Twinning Association. This meant he had many trips to twinned towns, and knew the Mayor of Northampton - whom he always brought as a guest to our Christmas meals!

In 2011 Brian was awarded The Presidents Award to thank him for his excellent service to the group.

Our 40th Birthday
  This year, on 31st January to be exact, we will hit a big milestone birthday, our 40th!!

To celebrate this very special occasion, and to say thank you to all our hardworking members (past and present) we will be organising a big event in the summer. At the moment we are thinking of a barbeque related event. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.

We are also hoping that we can reach another milestone achievement this year, that of our 1,000th test pass. We had an amazing year in 2017 with 38 passes (our year does not end until 31st January so this may increase!), and if we match these figures in 2018 we will achieve 1,000 passes!.

Tyre Safety Month October 2017
  tyre safety We are supporting the 2017 Tyre Safety Month (October). The following tyre safety advice is from Tyre Safe (

Tread depth is important to maintain good grip on wet roads but, as the tread wears down, the tyres will lose the ability of good grip. The ‘20p test’ is a quick way to check the tread depth. Place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves at three points across the tyre and then repeat around its circumference. If the outer band is visible, the tyres may be unsafe or illegal and need to be checked by a tyre professional.

Tyre pressure is equally important. Having the right pressure ensures the car handles as it should, reduces the risk of a sudden deflation and helps keep fuel consumption of the vehicle at its optimal level. The car manufacturer typically displays the correct pressures in the door shut or filler cap, but it can always be found in the owner’s manual or on TyreSafe’s pressure checker. Remember there are two pressures – one for normal loads and the other when fully laden.

While you’re checking pressures, it’s a good opportunity to have a look at the tyre’s condition. Tyres are never manufactured with lumps, bumps or objects sticking in them, so if you see any of these, you’ll need to have the tyre inspected. If objects like stones are wedged in the tread, remove them if you can.

click on image to enlarge
Group receives First Aid training
  First Aid First Aid First aid Members of our Group enjoyed a first aid training evening presented by Aidan Ward (senior paramedic lecturer, University of Northampton) and Adam Jeskins (Community First Responder and AAT for East Midlands Ambulance Trust). Both Aidan and Adam are Observers with the Northampton Advanced Motorists and tailored the training to cover what to do if you are the first on the scene of a road traffic collision. This included how to stabilise somebody in a vehicle (having made the scene secure and safe first), how to keep their airway open and deal with traumatic bleeding.

Ian Phillips kindly brought in a number of different motorcycle helmets and showed the different fastenings. Aidan and Adam then showed the group how to remove a helmet safely (but only if the motorcyclists airway is compromised). The training culminated in dealing with cardiac arrest, using CPR and a defibrillator.

We will be running another training evening in 2018.
Northampton Advanced Motorists have signed the Project EDWARD pledge
  Project EDWARD Project Edward - “European Day Without a Road Death” – is run by TISPOL, the European-wide Traffic Police network. It's target is that no one should die on the roads of Europe on 21 September each year.

It believes that changing people's behaviour is key to making roads safer and asks that people sign up to its pledge:-

My road safety pledge
I promise that I will:
  • Remind my family, friends and colleagues to take extra care on the roads.
  • Put my lights on for safety.
  • Drive as safely as I can and follow the rules when behind the wheel or riding a motorbike or bicycle.
  • Be extra vigilant and attentive to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, children, older people and horse riders.
  • Drive at speeds that are both legal and safe.
  • Carry out proper safety checks on my tyres.
  • Pay particular attention when driving near schools, and where there are lots of children.
  • Never drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs/medicines that could impair safety.
  • Look as far ahead as possible and not tailgate other drivers
  • Always wear my seat belt and ensure that everyone with me wears theirs.
  • Not use my mobile phone while driving.
  • Ensuring I am not distracted by anything inside or outside the car, or inside my head.
  • Set a good example to my passengers by driving calmly and safely.
Sign the pledge and find out more about Project EDWARD
Group's BikeSafeUK Highway Code Competition winner announced
  bikesafe1At the BikeSafe UK/OpenRoads event held on 19th August at Rockingham Speedway, we ran a highway code competition. Sixty members of the public entered the competition with varying degrees of success!

Our top scorer, and winner, is Debbie Warner of Kettering. Congratulations to Debbie, who showed an impressive knowledge of the Highway Code! Debbie has won herself a £20 Amazon voucher.

The questions, with answers, are here! The ones that caused the problems were question 3 (You may park on a verge or footpath when an information sign advises it), and road signs 1 (warning of either give way and/or stop sign ahead) and 6 (Two way traffic crossing a one-way street)!
Group's 950th Advanced test pass!
  Phil Bradley today became our 950th IAM RoadSmart test pass - and Phil did it in style gaining a F1RST!

Based on our number of test passes this year it is projected we will reach our 1,000th test pass in 2019! We are keeping an eye on this as there may be a celebration or two when we reach this milestone event!
National Bike Safe and OpenRoads, Rockingham Speedway 19th August
  openroads We are will be attending the excellent national BikeSafe/OpenRoads event being held at Rockingham Speedway on 19th August.

For more information, please see our Events page.

Photographic Competition
  We have recently updated our website and we would like a good photograph taken in Northamptonshire to use as the main banner. 

We would like a photograph as follows:
  • Original photo taken by yourself or family member (e.g. no copyright issues)
  • Must not have won any other competition or been published.
  • The photo must lend itself to fitting the landscape/oblong size of our front page (19 inch wide 4.2 inch high),  we will enlarge and/or select part of the photo to fit, but it must have the definition to be enlarged and retain sharpness
  • No limit to the number of photos you can submit
  • You must be a member of, or family member of somebody that is a member of, Northampton Advanced Motorists.

The photo itself must represent our Group and what we do, either:
  • an inviting road (with or without cars)
  • an atmospheric view of road, e.g. sunset/sunrise, sunny day etc
  • a photo of Northampton or Northamptonshire (but must have a link to our Group)
photo winner
We would also like to make use of any photos sent in, by creating a newsletter article around them, therefore if you could provide a brief note on why you took the photo, when, where, and any special memories to you.

Closing date: 30 June 2017
Submit entries to:

*** Stop press ****
We have a winner - An amazing photography of the road through Chapel Brampton taken by Catherine Tew was unanimously chosen. It can now be seen on this website and our social media sites!

Catherine can be seen receiving her prize from Group Secretary, David Smith.
New Group President - Chief Inspector Gary Ashton
  gary We are very pleased to announce that Chief Inspector Gary Ashton, Northamptonshire Police, has agreed to be our new Group president.

Chief inspector Ashton explains:

"I am Chief Inspector Gary Ashton and it is my honour to be asked to serve as president of the Northampton Advanced Motorists, an organisation that has supported safer driving in our county for almost 40 years. As a uniform officer since 1994, the safety of our communities remains a very high priority for me. I am frequently humbled by the many people who give their time freely to make Northamptonshire a safer place for people to live, work and visit; NAM members are a great example of this, supporting drivers achieving the highest standards and thereby improving the safety of our road network.

My policing career has predominantly been in uniform community roles, ranging from beat officer work through firearms command, Roads Safety and Community Command posts, in all parts of Northamptonshire. All of these roles have a strong prevention ethos and rely on building effective links with the communities we serve, protecting people from harm through great partnership working and drawing on the skills and capabilities of groups like NAM to support our policing mission to Protect People from Harm.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with NAM in the coming years. I’m excited about the road ahead."

Chief Inspector Ashton succeeds Superintendent Cox, who has transferred to The Metropolitan Police.
Chris Tew, Sponsored Young Driver, passes IAM RoadSmart Test
  Congratulations to Chris Tew, who passed his IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driving test this morning (11th February).

Chris joined us under our newly created Young Driver Sponsorship Scheme, in April 2016. Chris has been working with John Norrie, our Group Chairman and senior observer, and has proved to be very adept at picking up the new techniques. He is our first sponsored young driver to complete the Advanced Driving Course and pass his test.

Chris joins his mother, Catherine Tew, who passed her Advanced test last month!
2017 Group Subscriptions due!
  sub It is that time again - our Group subscriptions are due. Our subscriptions have remained at £10 for some years, and represent excellent value!

You can download the forms here, including a standing order form.
Young Driver Sponsorship - Callum Fletcher
  We are really pleased to announce that Callum Fletcher is our second young driver to be presented with sponsorship by Northampton Advanced Motorists.

The sponsorship will provide Callum, who has already begun his training, with all his observed drives, classroom session, and the Advanced Test.

If you are under 25 years old, live within Northamptonshire, have a full driving license and legal access to a car and feel this would be right for you, tell us in no more than 250 words why you feel you should be awarded sponsorship.

Send your application to our Group Secretary (
Happy new Year
  Happy New year to all our members and everyone who has supported us during 2016.
Problem with Motorways?
  Many people avoid using motorways, or have issues with them. If you know someone like this, get them to come to our Arrive & Drive sessions on the first Sunday of the month.

There will be a demonstration drive on the motorway with full explanation during the drive. This will be followed by a guidance session over the same route in your own car, with guidance from one of our observers. It’s free and could change your approach to motorways. We can also help with manoeuvring and parking.

We meet at Mereway police Station, Mereway, Northampton NN4 0JQ at 9.30 am.
IAM RoadSmart launched
  The Institute of Advanced Motorists has brought all its commercial subsidiaries under one trading name, IAM RoadSmart.

A great new look includes a new logo and website (, coincides with the IAM’s 60th anniversary. Affiliated Groups, such as ourselves, are able to display the "official provider" logo seen here.

Nigel Mansell, IAM president and Formula 1 World Champion, added: “To appeal to a new generation of drivers and riders it’s essential to understand and reflect their needs and priorities. In becoming IAM RoadSmart the IAM is taking an essential step into an exciting future, with an approach which is more relevant than ever before.

IAM RoadSmart’s chief executive officer, Sarah Sillars OBE added: “We will be launching a suite of new products to support the needs of all road users. The advanced driving and riding tests will remain core to what we do and will continue to be seen as the ultimate achievement, but if you just want to get more confident driving in bad weather for instance, we can help with that too."
Young Driver Sponsorship Winner - Chris Tew
  We are really pleased to announce that the winner of our very first young driver sponsorship is 18 year old Chris Tew.

Chris, seen here with our Group Chairman John Norrie, has already had his first assessment drive, and also had a demonstration drive from John. Chris said "I found details of the sponsorship on the Group website. I love driving on country roads but do not feel 100% confident driving in towns." After his assessment, Chris commented "my assessment drive was very instructive"
Young Driver Sponsorship - worth £149
  Are you between 17 and 24 years old, hold a full driving license and want a challenge?

Northampton Advanced Motorists (NAM) intends to sponsor two young drivers to have advanced driver training and take the advanced driving test.

This ‘Skill for Life’ package normally costs £149, but the two successful applicants will only pay £50 each on starting training, and will be fully reimbursed when they successfully complete the course.

There are no time constraints on this training in that as many observed drives as required will be provided over whatever time scale is necessary. Normally this will be within six to twelve months.

The training will be undertaken by a qualified observer on a one to one basis. Observed drives are arranged at a mutually convenient time, usually once per week. There will also be an opportunity to attend a classroom session followed by a demonstration drive at some point during the training period. Applicants must be in the 17 to 24 age range on 31st March 2016, and live within Northamptonshire.

If you have a full driving license and legal access to a car and feel this would be right for you, tell us in no more than 250 words why you feel you should be chosen.

Send your application to our Group Secretary ( by March 31st 2016. The same address can be used for further information or questions.
AGM - Group President, Superintendent Andy Cox confirmed as Guest Speaker
  Our Group President, Superintendent Andy Cox, has been confirmed as our Guest Speaker for the AGM on Wednesday 13th April. Andy will be talking about his time in Northamptonshire police. Further details see events
February, March, April and May Checkdrives still at Mereway Police Station
  sub A new roundabout is being built on the Mereway dual carriageway. This is resulting in ongoing roadworks, some of which will close Mereway dual carriageway to through traffic. We run our monthly checkdrives from Mereway police Station car park. If Mereway dual carriageway is closed, access to our Checkdrives is via the Queen Eleanor roundabout (A45). You may be stopped by a workman, but they will let you through.
Group Subscriptions due!
  sub It is that time again - our Group subscriptions are due. Our subscriptions have remained at £10 for some years, and represent excellent value!

You can download the forms here, including a standing order form.
Happy new Year
  Happy New year to all our members and everyone who has supported us during 2015.


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